APAPA’S COURT DRAMA: The Urgent Need For Obi To Caution Violent Obidents
The 2023 Presidential election has come and gone, but the controversy surrounding who truly won the election is still generating national debate, especially among the three major political parties’ proponents which now arrived at the Presidential Petition Tribunal Court for the judiciary which is seeing to be the hope of the common man to decide for over 200 million Nigerians and 84 million registered voters in the 2023 presidential election, which political party and presidential candidate that truly won the election after the official declaration of the winner by INEC.
Since the beginning of the ongoing Fourth Republic in 1999, the 2023 Presidential election can be said to be the most kneely contested and theatrical election; looking at the political shenanigans that played out before, during and after the election. Apart from the election marking exactly 30 years of the June 12, 1993, election, which was acclaimed to be the freest, most credible, transparent and acceptable election but was annulled by the IBB military government, the 2023 presidential election also reminisced us that the uniqueness of the 1973 and 1983 Presidential elections which was seen as a tight race among most the three ethnic groups in Nigeria, Hausa – Shagari, Igbo – Azikwe and Yoruba – Awolowo, in which Shagari won the two consecutive elections.
It is well irrefutable that the 2023 Presidential election was seen as a replica of the 1973 and 1983 Presidential elections, even though we have 18 presidential candidates fielded by the 18 political parties but the attention of the electorate was solely on three major candidates, Bola Tinubu of the APC – Yoruba, Peter Obi of the LP – Igbo and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP – Hausa. The emergence of the three candidates from their respective political parties set the tone for the presidential election that would be based on ethnicity and religious voting pattern, which eventually played out after the election.
The selfhood of the 2023 Presidential election from the previous elections since 1999 is that; this will be the first presidential election that the winner of the election failed to score above the conventional 10 million votes vestibule, as a result of the esprit of politicking that played among the electorate. At the end of the election that was marred by drama at the National Collation Centre, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) the winner of the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu polled a total of 8,794,726 votes with 12 states to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 6,984,520 with 12 states to emerge second and the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi scored 6,101,533 with 12 states to emerge third, while the candidate of the NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso scored 1,496,687 with just 1 state, his state Kano to emerge fourth in the election.
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2023 Elections: Obidents And The Unending Attacks
One factor that the 2023 elections, especially the Presidential election will always be recalled for is the social media betrothal of the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, political proponents “Obidents” over their dissipation on social media. After Peter Obi defection from the Labour Party to contest the election, we suddenly hear the name called “Obidents”, believe to be a campaign name for the supporters of Peter Obi mainly on social media pushing the political agenda of their candidate to be the next President.
The advent of the Obidents on social media changed the political campaigns atmosphere, as the group on various platforms started attacking every group and individuals believe to be in opposition parties or not in support of the political ambition of their candidate which resorted to ethnic and religious profiling. The social media activities of the Obidents gained international notoriety to the point those who believe to be in support of the agenda from the Diaspora did not hesitate to throw their weight behind the social media war against those they saw as their political enemies, who does not want an Igbo person to become the next President.
The Obident’s social media attacks did not superfluous some prominent Nigerians from religion to ethnic niches, both old and young believe to be working against Obi’s political ambition as they continually attacked personalities, especially those in the ruling party. No single comment on social media against Peter Obi went back unattended to without strong and derogatory words of reaction from Obidents without any fear of consequences.
Before the election, Obidents were seen on social media gasconade that no matter what INEC, APC, PDP or security agencies would do that Peter Obi would win the election as a result of their number of Obidents with a high number of voters, using multiple online polls conducted which swivelled in favour of their candidate to say he (Obi) would win the election in a landslide victory but at the end, their social media celebrated candidate came third with 6,101,533 votes with 12 states, mainly in the South-East and the South-South regions of the country. The outcome did not go down well with the Obidents, as they continued their social media attacks on INEC, APC and those that did not support their candidate.
The aftermath Obidents attacks created ethnicity war of words between the Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and internationally acclaimed novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Recall that Prof. Soyinka had berated members of the Obedient Movement whom he called “fascists”. The respected playwright spoke on Arise Television and fiercely criticised Obi’s supporters leading to exchanges on social media with internationally acclaimed novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weighing in, especially on the choice of the word, “fascist”.
By visiting Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the recent election, many Nigerians scolded Mr Peter Obi, for throwing his numerous supporters under the bus, and had no reason to make that visit after the Obidents and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have attacked the Nobel Laureate on behalf of Peter Obi which is widely conspicuous.
On Wednesday at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, the embattled National Chairman of the party, Mr Lamidi Apapa made his appearance in court as the national chairman of the party, but he was heavily descended upon and mobbed by Obidents for coming to court, which it took the help of the police officer to whisked him away from Obidents from being physically attacked.
Recall that a federal capital territory (FCT) high court has issued an order restraining Julius Abure from parading himself as the national chairman of the Labour Party.
Ruling on an ex parte application on Wednesday, April 5, Hamza Muazu, the presiding judge, also restrained Abure; Farouk Ibrahim, national secretary, Clement Ojukwu, national organising secretary and Oluchi Opara, treasurer, from parading themselves as national officers of the party.
The plaintiffs in the suit marked: CV/2930/2023 are Martins John, Lucky Shaibu, Isah Zekeri, Omogbai Frank, Abokhaiu Aliu, Ayohkaire Lateef, Job Elomah, and Abayomi Arabambi.
Arguing the application, James Onoja, counsel to the plaintiffs, told the court that the defendants forged several documents of the FCT high court to carry out unlawful substitutions in the last elections.
Mr Lamidi Apapa started acting as the national chairman of the party, after the ruling of the FCT high court that sack Mr Julius Abure as the national chairman of the party. The ruling has created a great political division in the Labour Party, as the faction loyal to Abure insisted that Abure is still the chairman, while the faction loyal to Apapa also insisted that the court judgment must be obeyed.
Peter Obi, who is in the midst of this storm must urgently call his supporters(Obidents) to order over their excesses in both physical and social media attacks on Nigerians that refuse to align with Peter Obi’s political ambition, as this can lead to uncontrollable war if not urgently put abated now.
Peter Obi must remind his political proponents that the case is in court, and they must allow the Court to decide the winner of the election.
Ostensibly, the Obidents are going beyond their boundary in using social media to attack their fellow countrymen and women over politics, which is now gradually translating to physical attacks on individuals.
Obidents must know that elections are not won and lost on social media, winning an election is all about having the required numbers, not on social media like Obidents portrayed before the election which makes their candidate come third.
Also, Obidents calling for the cancellation of the May 29 inauguration of the President-elect is a call for anarchy, which can and will never see the light of day.
Nigeria is bigger than any political movement in the name “Obidents” and the movement can not hold Nigeria to ransom.
Sam Olorunfemi Jr